Permanent Residence (Green Card)

Employment Based Permanent Residence

The employer sponsored Permanent Resident Visa (Green Card) is more complex and difficult to acquire than the temporary visas. Except for the internationally renowned or for “aliens of extraordinary ability,” the foreign worker must have an offer of employment. The employer must show the Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no available U.S. workers for the job. This process, available for skilled workers, usually takes six months to complete.

USCIS defines a skilled worker as someone capable of performing a job requiring at least two years of training or experience. The recruitment process is done through a DOL supervised system called PERM. The applications are usually submitted electronically. The DOL reviews the recruitment process. It requires the publishing of newspaper advertisements for the position and ads on the Internet State Jobs Bank web site. Professional occupations require additional recruiting. DOL also requires that the prevailing wage will be paid for the position. Following DOL certification, the application for Permanent Residence is made to USCIS. Currently there is a significant wait for skilled worker EB-3 visas. EB-2 (advanced degree) and EB-1 (extraordinary ability) visas are currently available for most countries.

The application for employment based Permanent Residence should be carefully prepared with the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.


Family Sponsored Permanent Residence

U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can sponsor certain family members for Permanent Residence (Green Card). Immediate Relatives (spouse, children under 21, parents) of U.S. citizens may be sponsored. Immediate relative visas are available without wait. Other groups such as adult children of citizens or spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters of Permanent Residents have waiting periods of from 3 to 10 years. Brothers and sisters of citizens may have to wait 12 to 20 years to be admitted as Permanent Residents. See the link to the Department of State Visa Bulletin for per country priority group visa availability.

Due to penalties and restrictions based on unlawful entry, summary deportation and unlawful presence, a qualified immigration attorney such as Donald N. Hubbard, should be consulted prior to filing any Permanent Resident petition and application.


Other Permanent Visas

Other Permanent Resident Visas are available for refugees, asylees and diversity visa lottery winners. Potential Asylum applicants should consult with an experienced Asylum lawyer such as Donald N. Hubbard.

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This information is intended to answer questions of general interest for people in California only. It should not be construed as legal advice. For specific advice, please consult your attorney.